CIA achieves key milestone in agency-wide modernization initiative

CIA logo 112On October 1, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) released an update on its agency-wide modernization initiative:

CIA achieved a key milestone under the Agency’s ongoing modernization initiative, a comprehensive effort launched in March 2015 to ensure that CIA is fully optimized to meet current and future challenges.

For the first time in more than 50 years (since 1963), a new directorate officially began operations today at CIA. The new Directorate for Digital Innovation (DDI), which is designed to accelerate the infusion of advanced digital and cyber capabilities across the Agency, is now functioning and joins four other existing directorates at CIA – the Directorate of Analysis, the Directorate of Operations, the Directorate of Science & Technology, and the Directorate of Support.

In addition, ten new Mission Centers officially began operations today at CIA. These new centers harness the full range of CIA’s operational, analytic, support, technical and digital capabilities to address the nation’s most pressing national security problems.

“Today, we mark a key milestone on the Modernization journey that we started almost seven months ago. Nevertheless, the Modernization effort is about much more than changing the way CIA is organized; it is about how we work together every day to bring the best of the Agency to the challenges we face. This kind of change will take time,” said CIA Director John Brennan. “With our Agency’s new structure in place, we will follow through in the coming weeks and months by acting on critical feedback from the workforce and focusing on fundamentals.”

CIA launched its modernization plan earlier this year to address two fundamental shifts in the national security landscape: the marked increase in the range, diversity, complexity, and immediacy of issues confronting policymakers today, and the unprecedented pace and impact of technological advancement. Drawing on the recommendations of an internal, 90-day review and input from all levels of the Agency, the CIA modernization blueprint calls for changes along four key lines:

  • CIA must invest in its people by enhancing its talent and leadership development:
  • CIA must embrace and leverage the digital revolution as well as innovate across its missions;
  • CIA must modernize the way it does business, including making decisions at lower levels;
  • CIA must better integrate its capabilities to bring the best of the Agency to all mission areas.

Over the past seven months, officers across CIA have been working to implement changes in these areas, including creating a new DDI, creating ten new Mission Centers, and making other improvements.

New Directorate for Digital Innovation:

In addition to spreading advanced digital and cyber capabilities across CIA, the new DDI will create a strategic framework to manage CIA’s digital architecture and talent, enhancing the capabilities of CIA’s existing directorates and new Mission Centers.

The DDI will leverage technological advancements in the digital domain and drive cycles of digital innovation by cultivating conditions for natural innovation to occur and by scaling such advancements more broadly to other mission areas.

The new directorate will also oversee the career development of the Agency’s digital and cyber experts, who will have the opportunity to acquire new skills and expand their tradecraft at pace with changing global and technological changes.

New Mission Centers:

The ten new Mission Centers that began operations today will work closely with all Agency elements to help meet current and future national security challenges. The centers will serve as locations to integrate capabilities and bring the full range of CIA’s operational, analytic, support, technical and digital skillsets to bear against the nation’s most pressing national security problems.

The new Mission Centers are not tethered to any single directorate and will work with all CIA elements to further enhance integration and interoperability. They are organized to take full advantage of CIA officers and elements that have the expertise and capabilities to execute mission. The new Mission Centers, which address four functional areas and six geographic regions, are:

  • Mission Center for Africa
  • Mission Center for Counterintelligence
  • Mission Center for Counterterrorism
  • Mission Center for East Asia and Pacific
  • Mission Center for Europe and Eurasia
  • Mission Center for Global Issues
  • Mission Center for Near East
  • Mission Center for South and Central Asia
  • Mission Center for Weapons and Counterproliferation
  • Mission Center for Western Hemisphere

Other Modernization Efforts:

The creation of these new structures comes on the heels of other developments in the modernization plan. On 1 June 2015, CIA stood up its Talent Center of Excellence to consolidate and improve the recruitment, management, training and leadership development of CIA’s workforce. CIA also formally established a new Executive Secretariat on 1 June 2015 to help streamline and enhance executive support functions in the Agency. Over the coming weeks and months, CIA will continue to implement changes along the lines spelled out in the modernization blueprint, including a continued focus on talent development at CIA and other critical initiatives.

Source: CIA